Stocks-to-Use Ratios and Grain Price Volatility

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2015-08-28
Authors
Elmore, Steven
Smith, Darnell
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Center for Agricultural and Rural Development

The Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) conducts innovative public policy and economic research on agricultural, environmental, and food issues. CARD uniquely combines academic excellence with engagement and anticipatory thinking to inform and benefit society.

CARD researchers develop and apply economic theory, quantitative methods, and interdisciplinary approaches to create relevant knowledge. Communication efforts target state and federal policymakers; the research community; agricultural, food, and environmental groups; individual decision-makers; and international audiences.

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Speculation in the agriculture community early this year focused not only on a new farm bill but also on the abnormal world grain market conditions. Much of the market speculation centered on the fact that we currently have high prices driven by strong demand and low supply. This has caused stock holdings of grain to be drawn down. An indicator of the stock situation relative to consumption can be found in the stocks-to-use ratio. This indicator is useful for evaluating grain price movements and potential movements. This article briefly explores the market relationships that underlie this ratio. It also serves as an introduction for a new addition to the indicator section of this publication.

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